If you’re in debt, you most likely woke up this morning, looked at the beautiful weather, and then promptly remembered that your finances are in a pretty unhealthy shape.
All of a sudden, the beautiful weather didn’t look quite as beautiful and the day didn’t seem as prosperous as when you first woke up.
That’s because we think of our debt as a noose that can never be untangled until the debt is cleared. But what if you could change your mind? What if you were told that actually, your debt is just a number – and it’s up to you how it is perceived.
You can’t change your debt overnight (not without the help of an anonymous benefactor, at least), but you can change your attitude toward it.
Taking a Step Back
You’re right in the middle of the madness that is debt. You look left, it’s there. You look right, it’s there. You look forward and, well, you get the idea.
You’re in a bubble of debt and it’s hard to think about anything else. It’s just there, sapping the enjoyment out of your life. But if you can manage to take a step back, you’ll see that it’s not as bad as it seems.
The very worst thing that can happen is still not as bad as what happens to some other people in this world. If you can find the time and can get out there, take a trip to nature.
Anywhere will do, so long as it’s away from man made lighting and structures. Look up at the stars, what do you feel? Do you think your debt problems are anything in the grand scheme of things?
This isn’t intended to take away the seriousness of the debt, just put into some perspective so that you can move forward without feeling crippled.
Beating the Shame
And in this vein, it’s time to talk about the shame that you almost certainly feel. Shame is good because it’s an acknowledgment that you’ve messed up in some way and you’ll learn from your mistakes, but don’t get too bogged down in the emotion.
You’re judging yourself by the standards of a very narrow section of the world’s population. And indeed, people you know are not judging you anywhere nearly as severely as you are judging yourself. Everybody makes mistakes – go easy on yourself.
OK, now that you’ve stopped beating yourself it’s time to start being proactive and looking at how you’re going to get yourself out of debt.
The very first step is telling yourself that you will beat debt, even if it takes you twenty five years to overcome. Every big task begins with the determination to do it, and actually really believing that you will do it regardless of how long it takes is half the battle.
If you’ve been in a slump and been pretty down on yourself, then treat this (or tomorrow morning) as the first day of the rest of your life. What has happened before doesn’t matter when compared to what is to come!
With your attitude in check, you can begin actually knocking down the debt. This will begin by confronting all of your debts across all your credit cards and loans and coming up with the big figure, the monster that you need to crush.
You’ll have a range of options as to what steps you can take, which is a good thing. It’s better than none! Just make sure you pick the right option. If you have many debts, then you may be asking yourself, ‘are debt consolidation loans good?’
It can depend on individual circumstances, but they’re usually a good option if you’re paying high interest rates to many different companies. With this, all your debts will be consolidated into one manageable debt.
Making a Game Plan
How you actually go about paying off your debt will depend on your current lifestyle, occupation, family situation, and so on. But needless to say, it’ll require something of a pretty hefty lifestyle change if you’ve been living a life of luxury in the recent past.
As much of your excess cash as possible should go towards paying down your debt. Even if it seems insurmountable at the moment, you’d be surprised just how quickly debts can start to be reduced once they’re attacked with gusto.
And actually, this is one of the best motivation tools you can have: nothing will make you more determined to eat simple, cheap meals than seeing your amount of debt inch towards zero.
Selling the Goods
If you have expensive assets, this might be the time to look at selling them. A car for example could bring many thousands of pounds and take a massive bite out of your personal debt.
You might not like the idea of selling your car, but in the long run it might be the sensible option and in the meantime you can always buy a second hand vehicle to get you from A to B.
Though it can be a good idea to sell your expensive items, think carefully before selling family heirlooms: once they’re gone, they’re gone, and you might end up regretting your decision.
The Bigger Picture
It’ll be a difficult and lean few years as you work towards your goal of a debt free life, but don’t treat it as a miserable existence. If you do, you’ll be more inclined to give up and keep the debt around your work.
Instead, treat it as a battle. Your debt is the enemy that needs to be conquered. You can always live a comfortable life; by limiting the amount of cash you spend, you’ll be building character and learning a valuable lesson in life: that hard times will always pass.
You’ve been into the depths of debt hell and you know that it’s not a place you want to be. Learn from your past mistakes, accept them as part of who you are/were, and then move forward with everything you’ve learned.